The question I get asked the most is what is my feedback on how C.A.C.G. is grading the coins that are submitted to them.
First, the credibility of John Albanese, Ron Drzewucki and John Butler is beyond reproach. They are true consummate professionals that want the best for the collector. And to maintain a strict grading standard. However, they still must find that sweet spot that will allow them to not be so strict that dealers and collectors stop submitting coins to them. That’s a hard line to draw. My impression is that C.A.C.G. and C.A.C. offer a superior service. The sticker service is very strict now to the point where it may not make sense. A nice coin will always be a nice coin. I say this because in some cases where I think C.A.C. is wrong, I had to cross-over to a different service or re-holder a coin to get it to C.A.C. We are all human and, in my opinion, it is better to be to strict than to loose.
Early on with C.A.C., I had a scarcer date original Seated quarter graded MS-65. A client gave it to me to submit to C.A.C. I sent it in the C.A.C. after I told him it would gold sticker. Of course, it only green stickered. The client was upset. I put my money where my mouth was and bought it as an MS-66. I sent it to P.C.G.S. and it graded MS-66. Back to C.A.C., now with a different serial number and it received a green sticker. I priced it and since type has been out of favor, it sat in my inventory. At a large show, a well-known dealer paid my price for it. He resubmitted it and it graded MS-67. Back to C.A.C it went and it green stickered. We are all human but a nice coin is always a nice coin.
Many dealers don’t know or care if a coin deserves the grade or sticker, if it’s C.A.C. or C.A.C.G. they just put a big price on it. Sadly, many collectors don’t understand how to ascertain value. To me, C.A.C.G. is grading rarer expensive coins better than more common issues. I saw a dealer that has a double row box of 50 or so classic commemoratives. He showed me the box and they were all C.A.C.G. I looked at them to pick out a few I may like. I didn’t pick out one. He asked me what I thought. I couldn’t be diplomatic. I said every coin to me was a half point to a full point over-graded. I apologized but it had to be said. He said they were not his coins and he was selling them for someone but he agreed with me. Every coin was either unattractive or washed out. I understand that because the coins were inexpensive that C.A.C.G. may have loosened up. Those 50 coins may have been leftovers from a 500-coin submission, I don’t know and maybe the nicer coins sold. However, if the mission of C.A.C. and C.A.C.G. is to deliver a strict grade and solid value coin it needs to apply to expensive and inexpensive pieces. Those commemoratives truly shocked me and saddened me.
Eventually, they’ll figure it out and find the sweet spot but the important lesson in all coin purchases remains the same. But the coins, not the holder. If shareholders don’t put pressure on the three main players in C.A.C.G. to cave in to get more submissions, it should work. If, however the call of making money at any cost is to loud, maybe John will go back to the stricter service.
If you have any questions, you’d like me to address privately or in the next Enthusiast, please let me know.